By Robert Atuhairwe
THE construction of a nine-megawatt hydro-power dam on River Wambabya in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district will be completed in November.
The $30m (about sh83.6b) project is part of the Governmentâ€™s rural electrification programme. By Saturday last week, engineers were fixing turbines and rotators in the power house as other works on the power channel and penstock line were going on.
Rogay Kumar, the Hydromax Power Company project manager, said the river had already been channelled to the spillway, which is the final stage in the construction of the dam.
Construction works on the dam started in 2005. â€œThe project is in advanced stages and we expect to hand it over to the Government in November,â€ Kumar said.
He explained that each of the three turbines will produce 3MW of electricity.
He, however, said the work was being affected by the current heavy rains and the lack of a bending machine that is used for folding plates and hard pipes.
Kumar added that the firm was forced to send the pipes to Kenya for bending because the required machine is not in Uganda.
Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, the energy ministry permanent secretary, while on a site tour said the completion of the dam would be a huge boost to the sector, noting that it would lower power charges and enhance the regionâ€™s development.
He pointed out that the people of Bunyoro would get stable power supply when the dam is completed. Kaliisa noted that construction of a power line to evacuate power from the dam onto the national grid at Kinubi sub-station in Hoima had also started.
However, he decried the rate at which forests in the catchment area of the power plant were being degraded.
â€œThere shouldnâ€™t be people occupying that place because they cut trees in the guise of cultivation, posing a great risk to the project. The RDC should intervene and evict these people to save this multi-billion investment,â€ he argued.
He said part of the power would be used in the oil exploration industry in the whole of Lake Albert region.
Another obstacle he cited was the water levels going low during dry seasons on the River. The project employs about 120 people of which most are locals, where they work as concrete finishers, truck drivers, builders and carpenters among others.